Former state GOP chair under fire again for ‘racist’ CD given as Christmas gift in 2008
Saltsman sent CDs to Republican National Committee members during his campaign to become national chairman.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A former state Republican Party chairman is getting heat for a CD he sent to Republican National Committee members in December 2008 after a vote about his appointment to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission this week.
John Bruce (Chip) Saltsman Jr.’s appointment to the commission was approved by the Senate on Monday, but not until after Sen. London Lamar, D-Memphis, questioned whether he should be appointed after sending the CD with a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to RNC members.
“I don’t think we should be nominating anybody to any state commission who is using racist and derogatory language toward respected elected officials, even our presidents, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on,” Lamar said during debate over the appointment. “He’s been known for sending this out on CDs as Christmas gifts to members of the RNC.”
Saltsman sent the CD to RNC members in December 2008 while campaigning to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee. The parody song is to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.”
“I do not know what he did in 2009,” Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, the sponsor of the resolution, said. “All I know this is the House Speaker’s appointment to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.”
Saltsman served as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 1999-2001. He later worked for Sen. Bill Frist. He was campaign manager for Mike Huckabee during the former Arkansas governor’s presidential campaign.
In late 2008, Saltsman was campaigning to be the chairman of the Republican National Committee. He sent the CDs to members of the RNC.
Saltsman defended the song at the time as political satire and said the issue blew up because of a double standard in the news media.
He withdrew his name from the race the day before a vote was to take place.
The State Senate approved the nomination 24-7. The State House approved the nomination last week 71-17.
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